By Bob Allen
Two hundred years after missionary Adoniram Judson’s 1813 mission to Burma, American Baptist Home Mission Societies has appointed two missionaries to serve refugees from the Southeast Asian country also known as Myanmar.
The appointments of pastors Saw Ler Htoo of Laurel, Md., and Ronald Charles Nunuk of Milwaukee mark the first time that Burmese pastoral leaders will serve as staff at the national level. The duo will be commissioned at this year’s biennial meeting of American Baptist Churches USA, scheduled June 21-23 in Overland Park, Kan.
Htoo brings a resume that includes roles as pastor of Calvary Burmese Church in Washington, D.C., since 2001 and as executive secretary of Karen Baptist Churches USA since 2009. He also serves on the Burma Refugees Task Force.
Nunuk is well known for roles including founding senior pastor at Carson Chin Baptist Church in Milwaukee and trustee and youth coordinator of Chin Baptist Churches of USA. He has served as a board member of American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin.
“These historic appointments confirm the Home Mission Societies’ longstanding commitment to refugee resettlement and advocacy on behalf of immigrant peoples in general and to the peoples of Myanmar in particular,” said Aidsand Wright-Riggins, executive director of the domestic-mission arm of the 1.3-million-member American Baptist Churches.
Historically, Baptist missionary work in Burma bore fruit by establishing Baptists as the country’s largest Christian group, with 1.5 million members grouped in 18 language and regional conventions.
Since 2006, American Baptist Home Mission Societies has worked vigorously to meet needs of thousands of refugees of Karen, Chin, Kachin, Karenni, Mon, Shan, Lisu and other ethnicities who have fled 50 years of civil conflict in their homeland to settle in 30 ABCUSA regions across the United States.